Soccer

FIFA arrests won't tarnish Women's World Cup, says Canadian minister

The federal sports minister says two probes into corruption allegations at soccer's governing body FIFA won't tarnish the upcoming Women's World Cup in Canada.

Gosal confident investigation won't touch Canadian officials; sponsors concerned

Minister of State for Sport Bal Gosal, right, and Minister of Labour & Minister of Status of Women Kellie Leitch, centre, unveil the Women's World Cup trophy at a ceremony in Ottawa on April 1. (Justin Tang/Canadian Press)

The federal sports minister, Bal Gosal, says two probes into corruption allegations at soccer's governing body won't tarnish the upcoming Women's World Cup in Canada. However, women's World Cup officials and sponsors expressed concern over the corruption scandal swirling around world soccer's governing body on Wednesday while trying to keep the focus on the global showcase that kicks off in 10 days across Canada.

Tremors from the arrest in Switzerland of seven of FIFA's most powerful figures on corruption charges reached across the Atlantic, rattling the build-up to the World Cup, but did not shake confidence in the Canadian Soccer Association's ability to stage a successful tournament that begins on June 6 in Edmonton.

"We are extremely disappointed by today's developments and welcome and support all efforts to eliminate this type of behaviour in the sport," the CSA said in a statement.

"As the host nation for the FIFA Women's World Cup Canada 2015, the Canadian Soccer Association is confident that the current situation will not impact the competition.

"We are positive that the 30 days of competition will bring exciting soccer to all fans in Canada and around the world."

Bal Gosal says he's confident that Canadian soccer authorities won't be pulled into the criminal investigations into FIFA executives.

Gosal called the allegations terrible, but an internal matter for FIFA's executive.

He said Canada is a world leader in transparency in sport, pointing to the headquarters of the World Anti-Doping Association in Montreal.

"I'm very satisfied that Canada is very up front," he said. "We're looking forward to hosting the World Cup."

Swiss prosecutors opened criminal proceedings into FIFA's awarding of the 2018 and 2022 World Cups Wednesday.

That came only hours after seven soccer officials were arrested pending extradition to the U.S. in a separate probe of corruption linked to commercial deals dating back to the 1990s for soccer tournaments.

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